Skepdick wrote: ↑Tue May 04, 2021 11:01 am
Immanuel Can wrote: ↑Fri Apr 30, 2021 5:29 pm
When 100% of the world believed the world was flat, was the world flat?
Just about everybody operating at the every-day human scale still safely assumes the world is flat.
But they're wrong. And we know they're wrong. They were always wrong.
So, as you say,
When 100% of the world believed the world was flat - it wasn't.
When 100% of the world believes the world is an oblate spheroid - it won't be.
When 100% of the world believes the world is some precise digital representation of Earth itself - it won't be.
The one thing they all have in common is this: they are all approximately right but precisely wrong.
Well, my point was this: not that thinking the earth is flat would hurt anybody in a local and practical way (unless they were planning to sail to the edge of it, or something, in which case, they would be disappointed
) The problem is that at that time every single person in the world though the same wrong thing...and it still wasn't right
In other words, consensus does not make for truth. It may increase the odds that a belief is likely to be true, but not at all guarantee that. In fact, 100% of the people can be 100% wrong. Furthermore, people's perception that the earth was flat had zero effect on the reality that the earth was spherical.
Facts don't care about beliefs or perceptions. Many of our beliefs do, in fact, turn out to be true (at least approximately). But some turn out to be totally false. The flat earth theory is not the only example of such.
My interlocutor of the moment was putting a lot of emphasis on perception, as if perception could "make" reality. It cannot. It can produce delusions, or it can be reflective of reality; but it cannot change reality itself. It is a postmodern prejudice many of us nowadays have to valourize "perception" as if it is some great achievement or some great change-producer. I suggest that's a prejudice of which we need to be skeptical.